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A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey$
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Clyde E. Fant and Mitchell G. Reddish

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195139174.001.0001

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A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey

Clyde E. Fant

Mitchell G. Reddish

Oxford University Press

Although mentioned in the New Testament as one of the cities visited by the Apostle Paul, the ancient city of Iconium is more famous today because of its Muslim mosques, its theological schools, and its connection with the great Sufi mystic known as Mevlana. Considered by many to be Turkey’s most religious city, modern Konya (ancient Iconium) is an intriguing place to visit because of its rich religious and architectural history. Known today as Konya, Iconium is located in south-central Turkey, approximately 170 miles south of Ankara. Situated in the Anatolian steppe, Iconium is one of the oldest cities in Turkey. Archaeological evidence indicates that the site of Iconium was occupied at least as early as the 3rd millennium B.C.E. During the 2nd millennium, the Hittites controlled the area. After the Hittite empire was destroyed, eventually the Phrygians gained control of the region and established a town at the site of Iconium. The Lydians took control of Iconium at the beginning of the 7th century, and then the following century the Persians ruled the area. When Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in the 4th century, Iconium became a part of Alexander’s empire. After Alexander’s death, Iconium was controlled by the Seleucids and then by the Pergamene rulers. In 129 B.C.E., four years after the Pergamene kingdom was bequeathed to Rome, Iconium was made a part of the Roman province of Asia. During the Roman period, Iconium was the seat of an archbishop and the location of an early church council (in 235). The city prospered under the Romans and also during the Byzantine time. From the 7th to the 9th centuries Iconium, like most of the towns and cities in the region, suffered from Arab raids. The Seljuk Turks unsuccessfully attacked the city in 1069, but by the next century they had taken control of the city, which they called Konya. As the capital of the Seljuk sultanate of Rum, Konya enjoyed a period of economic and cultural prosperity. Several of the mosques, mausoleums, and theological schools that can be seen in Konya today date from this period.

Keywords:   Barnabas, Lystra, Mevlana, Sufi/Sufism, Thecla, Timothy, dervish, synagogue

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